In the summer of 2007 I did a summer session at UCLA. Together with a friend, I started a week before the course started, on July 30th, 2008 with LTU on a direct flight from Düsseldorf to LA. That week we had a hotel in Downton LA Financial District. So we were able to “take care of” the tourist attractions (Universal Studios etc.) and also acclimatise ourselves.
On 08/05 we then moved to the Saxon Suites (On Campus Housing). This was our home for the next 6 weeks. Incidentally, I would prefer the Saxon Suites to the Rieber Hall. Simply because in the Saxon Suites you only share the apartment with 3 people and you also have a small living room with you. Furthermore, there are no “ID checks” every evening if you want to go to your room, as is the case in the Rieber Hall. It is therefore worth spending a few more talers on accommodation.
On the evening of moving in, dinner followed in the Rieber Hall (is set up like a kind of cafeteria). Then we got some tips and hints about life on campus, etc.
Our courses then started on Tuesdays (ESL 32 + EngComp 100W). However, we had to cancel the EngComp 100W course because we couldn’t get in via the wishlist. Such matters are dealt with at Murphy Hall. A very friendly and helpful lady sits there (provided you can find the right office) who is at your side with help and advice with the formalities.
The ESL 32 course was not particularly difficult. However, one should not underestimate the workload if one wants to take the matter seriously. For example, we had to prepare presentations, conduct a 30-minute native speaker interview and write an analysis. There was also regular homework.
The course ESL 97a was similar. Only this was to be classified significantly higher in terms of difficulty. Here you learned business-related presentations. Various group work with subsequent presentations (recorded on video), debates within the group, individual presentations and work in the computer lab were the subject of this event. A little tip: The course book that is required for this module should be taken back home with you. There you will find a lot of good advice and exercises for presentation preparation and the Praesi itself. After all, one could use it again someday.
To come back to Rieber Hall again, to be more precise, to eat. Each student receives the so-called “Bruin Card” at the beginning of the session. The meal credit is then saved on this. It is advisable to choose the meal plan with 15 meals per week in advance. Usually you don’t need more. The Bruin Card also serves as a means of payment (washing clothes, etc.). There is a machine in the Rieber Hall that can be used to load credit onto the card. Check jibin123 to see more reviews from current students.
Now I would like to briefly address the nations that were at the university during the summer session. The Chinese faction was the largest (approx. 70%). Then there were a few Austrians, Italians, Japanese, a few French and of course Germans at the start. American students, on the other hand, are seen less. This is because most of them are usually at home during the summer break.
During the semester break there are various leisure opportunities. UCLA is practically a small town in itself. The range of sports on offer is correspondingly large. In addition to a tennis court and various tennis courts, there are 2 pools, volleyball fields, soccer fields, basketball fields, a large fitness center and a stadium with a tartan track. Since the weather is actually always great, according to the song “It never rains in Southern California”, you can be active practically every day in the open air.
UCLA also offers trips to various cities and theme parks. However, we planned our trips ourselves. Usually you get to know enough people with whom you can do a lot.
For all those who would like to have a drink from time to time, the best place to do so is Habibi, O’Haras or the Brewery. The locations are all in Westwood and can be easily reached on foot. If you rather enjoy clubbing, you should go to the Strip or Hollywood Boulevard etc. But be careful, the prices are
pretty high there. In general, it is quite difficult or even impossible for people under the age of 21 to get into clubs or bars. At least that’s true for San Diego and San Francisco. In San Diego, for example, only ID cards and passports are recognized. In addition, all the locations in California usually close around 2 a.m.
All in all, the summer session is a great thing. We really experienced a lot there and learned a lot. In addition, we were able to have the grades credited to our home university, which is a big plus. The only downer is the cost. You have to wear all of these yourself. It’s expensive fun, but definitely worth it! If you have any questions, the always friendly and competent staff are available to you at any time in advance and during the session by e-mail and by phone.
Last but not least, I wish everyone who is tackling this “shortened semester abroad” this summer a lot of success and of course lots of fun!